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Short Stories 365/30 | N.S. Beranek

“Stormed and Taken in Prague” from Trysts: A Triskaidecollection of Queer and Weird Stories by Steve Berman (Lethe Press 2001).

This is one creepy and suspenseful tale, the story of an expatriated American in Prague who frequents a nightclub where sexual encounters with the bar’s “living statues” can be had for the right price.

Because of the way the plaster-dusted hard bodies, streets outside the club, and narrator’s apartment building are described, I envisioned the scenes of the story entirely in black and white. It reminded me of the wonderful old movies my mother and I used to stay up late on weekends to watch, which were presented as Creature Features. There’s also a kinship between this story and episodes of Twilight Zone. More than anything else, though, the way the narrator addresses the reader directly and his air of doomed resignation brings to mind the work of Poe.